Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. 1 Cor.12:28

The church is like an itch I keep scratching at, which is sorta sad but there you go!  Because I read my bible & in my own muddly way I try, you know ~ to do what it says; to obey God's commands; to grow up in Christ.  And every which way I turn the church, on the whole, is a stumbling block & it is driving me crazy.
I am not going to rant about Christmas ~ which is extremely rantable ~ nope, not even the whole put Christ back in Christmas thing 'cause in all honesty I don't think Christ was ever in it ~ which is a long, complicated historical unravelling of the symbols & pagan origins of just about the whole lot!    And it was the church, yep, the church that designed & fed us the whole unholy mess!
But that is where you end up when you start ditching God's design for things because God put something in place to prevent these very things.  Indeed He did. The church was designed to be built on a firm foundation.  First apostles ~ the sent ones.  Call them missionaries if you like, though that term has broadened to mean more than simply proclaiming the gospel to  people.  Secondly, prophets.  Apostles & prophets, the twin watch towers of the early church.
Now unless you belong to a Charismatic, Apolistic or Pentecostal church your church probably doesn't have an operating prophet ~ & even if you do the chances are they're not operating as a prophet, merely exercising a prophetic gift.  'Cause, the thing is, don'tcha know, that the prophets aren't comfortable people to have around.  They have a thing about the status quo.  They pinged Israel off so bad Israel demanded: Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! [Isaiah30:10]
And there you have it.  To the best of my understanding a prophet's job is to confront people with the Holy One of Israel.  When that happens you get the exhortation, the strengthening, the encouragement, comfort, warning & judgment because instead of comparing themselves to the world or to each other, people see how far they fall short of the glory of God. Prophets are  like the scout on point, so far ahead of the main party if they start bleating you wanna start paying attention. 
So where are the prophets?  There's lots of people round these days calling themselves prophets [& don't you just love the irony?!] but all too often what I'm hearing is a lot of feel good blather.  Now God may be saying all sorts of stuff.  What would I know?  Some of it I agree with.  We are bringing judgement down upon our heads & we seem totally unaware of it.  Yes, there's a harvest for the having [but where are the workers?].  Yep, God is calling a remnant out ~ BUT....first things first.  What is the point?  That there be a holy, sanctified, righteous people wholly dedicated to their God, a fitting bride for His son.
We cannot compromise.  We cannot say, as we have been for far too long, God understands; we're living in the Age of grace.  So He does & so we are but that is not licence for unrighteousness or things that displease our Lord.  We are called out to be set apart, dedicated, different [how many ways can I say it?] because God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, forever.  His standards have not changed.
I think that message is as about as popular as ever!  Because people haven't changed.  We want our cake & to eat it too.  We think a little sin will go unnoticed, not understanding a little pollutes the whole.  We like to be liked.  We are designed to be social so we crave to fit in.  It is far more comfortable!
Well I have news for you!  God doesn't care about our comfort.  God cares far more about our characters than we do.  He's not interested in how well you know your scriptures.  Your catechism.  Your hymns & psalms.  How well do you know Him?  How closely are you following after Him?  Have you picked up your cross?
And here's the cruncher.  I just love this because the Israelites were all for getting Moses between themselves & God.  Go talk to Him for us, they begged ~ & Moses did.  And when he came down off the mountain after talking with God he had to hide his face with a veil because so much glory shone forth!  When was the last time you had to wear a veil so you didn't dazzle people with the glory of God resting on you?  Yeah, me too.  I'm working on it.
The trap is either people say, well our righteousness is in Christ ~ which it is, but they use that as an excuse not to do anything themselves.  Or, they try doing everything in their own strength & fall into the pit of *works.*  Neither will suffice.  Moses spent Time with God.  This is the key.  If we do this one thing all else falls into place.
In my study this morning I came across this:  The word know is used differently in the bible but we keep translating it the same when it does not always mean the same thing. We all know Psalm 46:10
~ Be still & know that I am God
 Here the word know is talking of experiential knowledge ~ & this is the thing we've most been taught to distrust in the west thanks to the reformers who have put so much emphasis on holding on by faith.  There is a time & a place for that ~ but it is not the whole story.  It is much easier to hold on with faith when you know the one in whom you have put your trust!
Likewise it is much easier to be holy, righteous, different when we know God. Really know Him.  In all His aspects. As Love, & majesty, as wrath & judgement, as Creator & as Lord & King.  And when Christ returns may He find us a people prepared, who have cleansed themselves & practised the art of holiness that we might serve as priests forever of our Lord & our God.


seekingmyLord said...

(Blinking)...and good morning to you too, Ganeida.

I burst out laughing when I read the word "dazzle." Definitely not my style, but let's face it, once you have spent time talking intimately with your Lord, out of the cozy prayer closet you must come for His gifts are given to be used to benefit other people, which is how they glorify God.

I have been reminding myself of that quite a bit of late.

Persuaded said...

Good stuff... difficult but good. I like how you differentiated between someone who is functioning as a prophet and someone who is merely exerceising the gift of prophecy. For most of my adult years I attended "charismatic" or "spirit-filled" churches because- make no mistake about it- I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well and didn't cease working amongst us at the end of the first century. About 10 years ago though I switched to a little Baptist church where they actually don't believe that the gifts of the spirit such as tongues, healing, prophecy, etc are for today's church. I disagree with them on this point (and I have stated my feelings and beliefs to the pastor and the church board when I came up for membership) however the emphasis on Scripture, and the importance placed on the disciplines of regular prayer and Bible study out weigh my concerns on that score. I had become disillusioned about the emotionalism of the pentacostal churches I had been attending... lots of feel-good stuff, too much license in my opinion. I want substance. I want scripture. I NEED scripture.Over the last few months I had become a bit lazy in my own personal study... it's amazing how quickly one can feel a terrible distance when one has known a real true intimacy with Him. Amazing and a bit terrifying if you ask me. "Give me first place," is what I kept hearing. I've started getting up an hour earlier than my usual practice and doing absolutely nothing before I dive into the Word.... and it's pretty amazing how quickly one can be back cozy in His arms once one is obedient;-)

Ahhh.. well, I've rambled enough I guess.... And the Christmas thing? I'm with you there, but don't have a clue what to do about it! I'm making small changes in our family's celebration, but they are very small indeed. I really do long for a Christ centered celebration. I'd love to give up the idea of gifts altogether... oh well, that will have to be a ramble for another day;-)
love you hon:)

Ganeida said...

Seeking! ☺ At least you weren't gob~smacked enough to not comment. I still haven't mnaged to think of anything useul to say to you but I will be there today!Balance. It's all about balance.

Diane: I do not know why the good Lord spread my best buddies around the globe but he did & now I gotta live with it. I am the opposite. I've been in the other sort of churches & moved away because the law cannot save. The scriptures alone cannot save. The form of Godliness but denying the power. I want strong teaching AND the charismatic gifts. Why not? That's what scripture teaches we are to expect but it seems us humans can only focus on one aspect or the other at a time. *sigh* I am with yoy on the whole licence thing. There is far too much of it amongst God's people & make no mistake; He will deal with it!

My children, being older, are making a move away from Christmas easier. We are going for a Hannukah type celebration this year [as at least 2 can't actually get home for Christmas] if I can actually figure out what I'm doing before it arrives! Yes, well, hmmm....

MamaOlive said...

What you describe reminds me of the early Methodist church. They had a big emphasis on "personal relationship" with God, but were so big on Bible study that they were named for that. But now, they have neither. Dead as a doornail, and they don't stand for anything.

I agree with you about Christmas. Bob gets a newsletter from a Christian political action group, and recently they were SO excited that they'd convinced a major bank to allow local branches to put up Christmas trees. I was just stunned that they would waste resources on a fight like that. Sure, it's cheery, but it has no Christian significance.
Speaking of which, we didn't have a tree for 4 years because of lack of space, and I thought we actually agreed that we preferred it that way, but last year Bob was BIG on putting up all the "Christmas" decorations. I feel like we go around in circles.

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

Oh! I just have to link to this post on my kerugma fb account. Ok?

Ganeida said...

Susan: Oky~dokey.

MamaO: Don't start me. It won't be pretty. lol

joyfulmum said...

Ganeida, you didnt scare me off....I think anyone with any discernment would agree with you about the state of the church. having said that, I think these issues have been around a long long time and instead of getting frustrated, God has lead me to pray...pray for change....when I see someting not right, I pray....I pray and I pray :) The church is the bride of Christ, warts and all and our love for Him will be reflected in our love for His bride....did I scare you off with my comments? hope not:)

Ganeida said...

Rosemary: Agree with you entirely about the prayer ~ but then we know what your gift is, don't wwe?! Some of us are called to make more noise about what's wrong rather than continue to allow the church to drift dangerously. Also, the bride is the true church ~ the church that loves Christ enough to obey Him! Um...yeah.